Securing major partners takes time, planning, and requires a thorough understanding of the changing priorities in the companies you’re targeting. Pearlfinders tracks developments at top spending brands, allowing clients to build a full picture of the real challenges being encountered, new faces joining the marketing team, diverse sentiment across the company, and major developments affecting how your prospects are approaching sponsorship. 


April 2010 – New decision-maker

Following (inaccurate) reports in the press about Heineken's plans to set up a bespoke event,  we speak to the company's newly appointed Sponsorship Manager. He reveals that his big challenge is to integrate Heineken UK's sponsorship strategy with its responsible drinking agenda. Having inherited a number of relationships, he plans to take some time to evaluate what was working as he settled in...

February 2011 - official supplier to London 2012 

Heineken's now well-established Sponsorship Manager tells us the 2012 deal was a "statement of intent" as the brand sought to engage a broader audience through a positive message. We learn that he's interested in UK-based properties with global reach and to reach stakeholders such as the media and politicians.

JUNE 2012 - Focus on Big 4 PARTNERSHIPS

Despite the announcement that Heineken was to become the official sponsor of the Irish Open for the next three years, Netherlands-based Global Sponsorship Manager advises that the brand would be focusing its resources on activating its four major strategic partnerships:- London 2012, the Heineken Cup, Rugby World Cup and UEFA Champions League.


Heineken's Sponsorship & PR Manager for France tells us the laws against alcoholic drinks sponsoring sporting and music events have restricted activation in recent years. However he says the brand is changing its strategy to focus on experiential marketing and content. With this in mind, he's looking for new, unique and exclusive ideas from agencies and rights holders instead of the standard corporate hospitality offers. 


Following a deal with Leeds FC, Heineken's Regional Sales Director tells us that the company's local sponsorship budgets are fairly substantial. He also reveals budget proposals for 2014 are currently being collated making it "a great time to try and get noticed".

April 2014 - GLOBAL MUSIC and Film

Netherlands-based Global Sponsorship Manager tells us he's interested in opportunities to partner with music and film properties that deliver scale globally.


Heienken's Events Manager tells us it's looking to to convey a really “fresh” responsible message, and maintain a “clean and tidy” brand image. He's looking for corporate hospitality opportunities that intensify the brand experience.


APAC Regional Marketing Manager tells us Heineken is interested in sports properties that are social media savvy, such as Manchester United (the deal with Mourinho would net be inked for another two years). She's also interested in properties with potential that are not yet “mainstream” rather than the current established events and tournaments.


Global Sponsorship Manager tells us football and rugby remain its most consistent perfoming partenrships. He says sponsorship discussions can begin at any time and the company as it "has budgets to sponsor the biggest events in the world" and invites approaches

JULY 2015 - major restructuring 

Following the exit of the CMO and appointment of a new CCO we check in to ascertain any early indications of a shift in focus. Global Events Manager, Sponsorships tells us mass exposure and maintaining a premium positioning remain priorities, but recommends checking back in via email once the dust has settled from the Rugby World Cup and James Bond Spectre (another flagship partnership) has finished its run in cinemas.

May 2016 - It's all about sales

It's surely no coincidence that less than a year after Chief Sales Officer adds marketing and sponsorship to his remit that Heinenken's Global Sponsorship Manager is now telling us that the purpose of sponsorship is ultimately to drive sales. The brand wants to stay front-of-mind males aged 25-34 and is unapologetic in its desire to generate return off the back of agreements.  

January 2017 - Competitors Causing Concern

AB InBev’s £79bn takeover of SAB Miller will see it become five times the size of Heineken. Global Consumer Brand PR Manager tells us with this in mind, it's important make sure Heineken isn't squeezed out and remains part of a consumer's portfolio of several preferred lager brands - “who really only drinks one lager?”

February 2017 - make Healthy american women drink beer again

Heineken's US Brand Manager tells us the main challenge for the team this year is making its products relevant to more women and health enthusiasts. Because these groups sit outside of its core market of younger male drinkers slightly above the LDA and established, older beer “fans”, there is little data about these groups and their attitudes to beer as a category...